From customer service bots to voice-enabled assistants like Alexa and Siri, AI technology has gained popularity in many modern-day applications. But it’s making waves behind the scenes, too.
AI-powered technology is helping businesses gain efficiencies, improve speed, and build agility. But it’s also helping them engage employees, boost retention, and create a better working environment for their teams. For HR leaders, this spells a new digitally enabled era for their traditional human resource function. And it has already started making headway into organizations, both large and small, transforming the employee experience with profound outcomes.
Chatbots: what’s the appeal?
More companies are investing in conversational AI technology and making it a priority in their employee strategies. Clearly, the advantages it offers to amplify the HR role are certainly compelling.
A higher level of efficiency
For those betting on AI technology, its biggest appeal centers on the ability to automate repetitive HR activities. Take, for example, answering queries of new candidates during recruitment, updating new recruits about company procedures, or alerting employees about changes to HR policies. Handing over these repetitive tasks to a chatbot can free up productive time for HR teams. This allows them to focus on more critical functions that demand human intervention.
This will also enable HR leaders to run leaner operations and gain significant cost benefits. Other functions are already ripping the financial rewards of AI technology. Marketers, for example, are banking on chatbots for an $8 billion saving in customer engagement activities by 2022. So, there’s no reason why HR bots can’t achieve a similar feat.
Improved employee experience
Unlike the human HR teams, AI-powered HR bots can work 24/7. This eliminates the need for running shifts or worrying about burnout. They can also help improve the consistency of the employee experience and maintain a higher level of accuracy of information shared.
And chatbots are increasingly becoming adept at mimicking human conversations and providing a more personalized user experience. This is certainly good news for anyone concerned about a dwindling human touch. In fact, according to Think with Google, 41% of voice-activated device users compare their experience with talking to a human. This explains why many employees are using phrases like “thank you” and “please” when talking to chatbots, despite knowing they’re conversing with a non-human.
Of course, chatbot technology allows for easy human intervention as well to address matters that are beyond the scope of the bot colleagues. This ensures a smoother experience for employees and greater control of automated activities for the HR teams.
And these technologies have a high degree of adaptability across different platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype, mobile apps, and email. This improves accessibility and ease for employees. Besides, a self-service HR function enabled by chatbots that work around the clock can significantly simplify the employee experience. And for those who have been struggling to find their way through complex HR processes, AI technology is providing a taste of a new kind of workplace—where HR is available anytime, anywhere, at a click of a button.
Recording employee interactions with HR teams is time-consuming and leaves room for human error. But automating functions with chatbots gives rise to an incredible amount of data that would otherwise have been impossible to access.
This allows HR leaders to track, monitor, and analyze the employee experience. For example, they can track the most pressing employee concerns based on chatbot queries or conduct chatbot-based surveys to gauge employee satisfaction.
Data gathered through these mechanisms can offer real-time access to actionable insights. This enables HR leaders to make data-backed decisions and develop evidence-based strategies. And these technologies are scalable and can grow with your business. So, they can continue to provide even more meaningful workplace insights as your business experiences change.
HR chatbots in action
To really understand why AI-enabled chatbots have become such an appealing proposition for both employers and employees alike, we need to look at some of its applications within the employer-employee relationship.
- Chatbots like XOR and Humanly offer a range of services for the recruiting and onboarding functions. For example, they can help you screen and engage top candidates, schedule interviews, and offer important information for new recruits. All these can help improve the quality of the hires while providing a seamless, efficient, and engaging experience for candidates.
- Advanced conversational AI is also making it possible for HR chatbots to identify emotions by analyzing word placements, connotations, and the likes. Kore.ai, for example, can identify six different emotions—from anger and sadness to fear and joy. This allows HR bots to customize responses for a more personalized employee experience.
- Chatbots have also become an important part of employee training initiatives. Companies are using question-and-answer based learning activities to help improve the learning outcomes. HR bots are also providing training and skill development recommendations to employees. And they can guide teams through Learning Management Systems for a more interactive and personalized experience. And according to studies, these chatbots are helping employees to reach their learning goals 30–35% faster.
A promising AI-led future
An HR chatbot’s ability to elevate the HR function of the future is already becoming evident in the systematic progress it has made across organizations. It will also change the very nature of the HR function and how we perceive the employee experience as we know it. Employee engagement, for instance, could become a shared responsibility between HR and IT in the future workplace. And going forward, data security could demand a priority in the HR team’s agenda.
Whatever the transformations may be, one thing is for sure. In a rapidly evolving workplace, the HR function must also evolve to secure the competitiveness of their organizations. And adopting AI-powered tools to amplify their department’s role would be essential for HR leaders.